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Earth Day 2024: 5 ways to make your business more environmentally friendly

22nd April 2024

April 22nd marks the celebration of Earth Day – a poignant reminder, and a global call out, to come together to facilitate change on environmental issues with the aim of conserving our environment and promoting sustainability. This year’s theme is ‘Planet vs Plastic’, reiterating Earth Day’s pledge to reduce the production and use of plastic pollution by 60% by the year 2040. Earth Day asks us to help eradicate single use plastics such as plastic bags and bottles, and invest in pioneering technologies that produce alternative, environmentally friendly materials. The goal of this year’s campaign is to raise public awareness on how to decrease the negative impact of plastic on the health of our planet, our habitats, and our future generations.

The Roots of Earth Day

The very first Earth Day was celebrated in the United States in 1970, after college campuses began a movement for environmental awareness. A host of subsequent events and campaigns, as well as the increasing public awareness of climate change and global warming, saw Earth Day celebrations becoming global in 1990. In collaboration with global partners, Earth Day continues to expand the foundations laid by its creators and empower the global population by providing investment, facilitating education, and promoting public awareness. Meanwhile, the Earth Day organisation continues its call for the world to be innovative, ambitious, and courageous, and take immediate action – improving use of renewable energy, eradicating plastic use and deforestation, and protecting biodiversity for a healthier planet and a healthier tomorrow.

Why is sustainability important for future generations?

While environmentally friendly practices are increasingly being promoted, our wasteful practices and habits continue to negatively affect the availability of resources and the quality of our environment. Concerningly, temperatures have risen by 1.1°C since the 1850s; a 1.7°C-1.8°C increase could cause life-threatening heat and humidity. Therefore, sustainability is imperative to mitigate risks to the climate to preserve our planet’s health and safeguard a liveable environment for future generations free from climate crisis.

Why is sustainability important for business?

In short – corporate social responsibility. It’s now becoming more important for organisations to be aware of and accountable for the impact their practices are having on the environment. Climate change is a growing concern for the modern workforce. Research by IBM found that 67% of employees are more likely to apply for a role with organisations who demonstrate environmentally friendly practices, and 35% reported to have changed their job in the last year to an employer they perceived to be sustainable. 34% even moved into a job role with responsibilities that can positively impact sustainability outcomes.

Furthermore, almost 40% of millennials report that they have chosen an employer based on their sustainability practices. Some have even reported accepting a lower salary to work for an environmentally conscious employer. Therefore, prioritising sustainability by implementing economic, environmental, and social practices is key not only in reducing the impact on the future health of the planet, but for attracting and retaining talent.

How can the Workplace Wellbeing Charter help your business?

The national Workplace Wellbeing Charter accreditation is a sure-fire way of demonstrating to employees and stakeholders that you are committed to both employee wellbeing and doing your bit to save the environment.

To support businesses with sustainability, Health@Work have utilised evidenced-based research to update the Charter framework, to stay ahead of the dynamic workplace wellbeing landscape and help to meet employee expectations.

The Charter is built on a solid framework which encompasses 8 key areas of workplace wellbeing, one of which is Environment and Sustainability. This framework supports employers to benchmark their current practices and exposes opportunities for improvement. For example, enhanced communication, increased carbon offsetting practices, development of environmentally conscious commuting programmes, and the implementation of sustainable procurement measures. As part of the Charter process, organisations are assigned a supportive wellbeing consultant and a post assessment outcome report which can be utilised to develop or enhance an existing environment and sustainability strategy, to supplement the health and wellbeing strategy.

5 best ways to make your business more environmentally friendly

Firstly, remember that simple measures such as maximising natural light, avoiding placing large furniture or equipment in front of windows, using bright decor, and motion sensor lighting will promote reduced energy usage. Go paperless and replace hard copy documents with electronic signatures and editable PDF’s – meaning less paper, less printing, and less equipment such as printers, shelving and filing cabinets.

1.   Encouraging car sharing or a cycle to work scheme

Encouraging your employees to choose eco-friendly commuting options such as walking, cycling and the provision of subsidised travel, a cycle to work scheme, or electric vehicle leases can both promote a positive impact on the environment and increase employee health and wellbeing.

2.   Minimise waste, recycle, and reuse

Ensure recycling bins are accessible and encourage eco-friendly practices like reducing single-use plastics wherever possible. Reduce food waste from the canteen by offering ‘Too Good to Go’ packs to employees at the end of the day, or donating to a community café who utilises surplus food to feed the community.

3.   Source green suppliers of renewable energy

Reducing energy usage and switching to more sustainable energy sources reduces air, water, and land pollution, ultimately making the environment more liveable. Try to switch to energy suppliers who generate power from sustainable, renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydro.

But it’s not just your energy providers that warrant consideration. Today’s consumers seek transparency regarding sustainability practice – for example in product origins, manufacturing processes, ingredient sourcing, and fair wages. Conduct thorough research and seek partnerships with eco-conscious companies that share your values. Whether sourcing sustainable raw materials, selecting catering providers, or engaging carbon-balanced printers, numerous green partners exist. By aligning with environmentally responsible partners across your network, you can maximise eco-friendliness throughout your operations.

4.   Reduce digital impact and practice energy conservation

Digital devices such as laptops, monitors, TV screens, and mobile phones can consume high levels of energy. It’s not always energy efficient to replace all devices for eco-friendly alternatives as this will increase technological waste. Consider repairing, recycling, or selling any malfunctioning or outdated equipment. When it is time to replace a device, conduct thorough research to identify the most environmentally friendly options, or consider upcycling equipment. Consider also pre-owned equipment, as it not only reduces waste but can offer potential cost savings.

A website server powered by green energy and conducting regular clean-ups of unnecessary files, code, and plugins by yourself or your web developer can significantly reduce energy consumption. Remember also to shut down devices at the end of the working day and refrain from leaving a laptop unnecessarily on charge!

5.   Create a green space

A simple way to create a healthy, more environmentally friendly workplace is to display plants. Not only do plants remove CO2 and release oxygen, but research by NASA also found that house plants even remove chemicals from the indoor environment such as benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.  You can also promote horticulture in your local community such as litter picking, tree planting and gardening projects.

Research shows sustainability in business is imperative. Organisations who show they are committed to climate change and adopt eco-friendly practices attracts and retains talent and enhances employee morale. Sustainability isn’t just a responsibility; it’s an opportunity for businesses to thrive while safeguarding the planet for future.

More Information

If you would like some further information regarding the Workplace Wellbeing Charter or training packages, please call Health@Work on 0151 236 6608 or visit our website Health@Work – Workplace Wellbeing Experts (


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